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Cairngorm Mountain to receive more than £20M

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So Cairngorm Mountain https://www.cairngormmountain.co.uk/our-history/ "During the 1950’s the Cairngorm Sports Development Fund was set up to try and establish commercial skiing, and ever since has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to its slopes." has still failed to become a commercial organisation 70 years later:

https://www.inverness-courier.co.uk/news/go-ahead-is-given-for-the-repair-of-cairngorm-funicular-214714/

(ducks)

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 Andy Say 09 Oct 2020
In reply to David Barlow:

Feck. Not exactly a viable proposition then?

Crying out for nationalisation....🙄

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 Doug 09 Oct 2020
In reply to David Barlow:

Appalling news if true, wonder what http://parkswatchscotland.co.uk/ will have to say

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In reply to David Barlow:

Of course the question isn't so much if the funicular can make money, it seems it can't. The question is what economic benefit does it bring to the wider economy. A question I don't know the answer to. At least not in terms of numbers anyway.

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 DaveHK 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Doug:

> Appalling news if true, wonder what http://parkswatchscotland.co.uk/ will have to say

Already stuff on the winter Highland FB page.

The rest of the centres are understandably miffed.

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 facet 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Andy Say:

What a massive pile of BS! HIS is such a dodgy government slush fund. It's just crazy what's happened to Cairngorm mt over the years. 

Crazy we ended up in this position. It's interesting reading around the history of the mt (I've only lived up here for 4 years and remember writing to object to the funicular many moons ago)!

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 facet 09 Oct 2020
In reply to The New NickB:

I use the funicular in winter for skiing (not that often, maybe go 3 x a winter). It's quite depressing other times of the year if I'm in the area, sometimes walking, mainly climbing seeing the tourists drive up to the ski centre, get out of their cars, have a smoke or drop some empty red bull cans, then get the funicular to the top, probably have drinks, then come down and feck off again... It's just the strangest thing. It may bring some money to whoever is running the mountain at the time, but it's a completely depressing and unsustainable 'business'. 

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 DaveHK 09 Oct 2020
In reply to facet:

> but it's a completely depressing and unsustainable 'business'. 

The bit I find really depressing (and it's also unsustainable) is those ridiculous 'snow factory' containers. Screw the environment to extract a few more quid out of people.

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 facet 09 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

I know! Not that there is an excuse, but at Cairngorm they subtly place them (2 storey's high) at the top of the carpark near the cafe. It basically looks like a building site. After reading the media blurb from all of the Scottish Ski resorts last winter about how amazing they are, and how it will enable the ski resorts to remain open through any weather (ignoring environmental issues), it was shocking to see that with them running 24/7 they could keep open a beginner slope about as big as a swimming pool! What the point is I have no idea!

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 Webster 09 Oct 2020
In reply to David Barlow:

makes me sad and angry. that money could be so much better spent by the other resorts. Is the glencoe base cafe/kiosk/rental burning down not worthy of government funding?! carngorm mtn needs to be handed over to the locals to be run as a ski resort, not a tourist attraction!

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 peebles boy 09 Oct 2020
In reply to David Barlow:

Unbelievable. The entire residential centre based outdoor education industry in Scotland is going to shit, and ScotGov won't offer financial aid, but there's £10million to fix that bastarding train, another £10million over 5yrs for revenue projects, and £2million for HIE to (mis)manage the entire shit show. 

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 colinakmc 09 Oct 2020
In reply to Andy Say:

> Feck. Not exactly a viable proposition then?

> Crying out for nationalisation....🙄

In effect it is nationalised, except that the private company takes the income while the government picks up the tab for the loss. 
The whole sorry mess needs to be taken down and put in a skip.

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 colinakmc 09 Oct 2020
In reply to The New NickB:

Economic benefit to the area - Given how busy the Aviemore area has been these last 2 years without it, almost none. It’s unnecessary economically and very little help to the ski industry since it tends to stop running if there’s too much snow.

Post edited at 23:07
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 wintertree 09 Oct 2020
In reply to peebles boy:

> but there's £10million to fix that bastarding train,

Want to give odds on that being enough to actually fix it?  

Has there been much ongoing monitoring of its condition since it was shut down?

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 Wainers44 10 Oct 2020
In reply to colinakmc:

> In effect it is nationalised, except that the private company takes the income while the government picks up the tab for the loss. 

> The whole sorry mess needs to be taken down and put in a skip.

Do wonder what the repair will actually be? Having been sad enough to read the engineers report the whole thing sounds f*cked. The piers could be reused but not the rest.

I dont quite get all the hatred towards the thing though. For folks who aren't fit enough to march up the tracks it does give a small restricted chance to see the wonderful view. And it is a draw for the area helping to extend the tourist season  for Aviemore? That said the way a private company can benefit from a huge public funded investment is a bit daft. Lucky that doesn't happen elsewhere,  such as at the top of Snowdon for instance! 😁

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 Doug 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Wainers44:

The view is frequently just low clouds & the funicular doesn't go to the top of the hill (as eg on Snowdon) and from a skiing point of view its not as convenient as ski on/ski off chair lift. As for the economic benefit to the surrounding area, it seems Aviemore & Glenmore were doing well without the funicular until Covid came along.  For much more information see the ParkwatchScotland &/or Winterhighland websites.

Sadly, many of us predicted this 20 plus years ago before the funicular was built but, as always, HIE knew best.

Post edited at 08:44
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In reply to Wainers44:

> I dont quite get all the hatred towards the thing though. 

My hatred for it is no greater than my hatred of all the other infrastructure on Cairngorm. None of it should ever have been put there in the first place. However, given that the ideal solution of removing the lot probably isn't going to happen, I think it is a shame that the funicular wasn't built all the way from Glenmore so that at least the car parks could have been removed, and with the policy of not allowing use of the funicular for walking access so that we all had to walk from Glenmore, it would have taken a lot of the environmental pressure off the fragile high environment of Cairngorm and the plateau beyond.

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In reply to David Barlow:

Balfour Beatty to refurbish it. Didn't they Jerry build in the place!? 

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 Wainers44 10 Oct 2020
In reply to MG:

> Balfour Beatty to refurbish it. Didn't they Jerry build in the place!? 

I thought it was Robertsons.

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 Wainers44 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

The longer run up from Glenmore would be nice, but could it cope with the volumes at the start of the day with the significant extra run time? Yes OK more trains, but even so? Shutting the carpark would make the Corrie walk in a bit more of a time challenge too?

I have read about all the debate which took place when it was built and the argument for it at the time was weak. But it's there now, sort of, and ok I know the Viz isn't always great but as a thing to do on a rest day between walks it's an asset to Aviemore I think.

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 gavmac 10 Oct 2020
In reply to David Barlow:

It's depressing. Some recognition of past failings and a willingness to learn lessons is the minimum I would expect from HIE but no, let's plough more tax payers money in with no accountability. 

I could suggest a much more meaningful and worthwhile source of that government money is the outdoor education centres who are unlikely to survive into 2021 without government/council support. The public and politicians will complain about anti social behaviour in the outdoors but sit idly by as the outdoor education sector is decimated and a key part of introducing young people to the outdoors disappears. 

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In reply to Wainers44:

Actually it seems to have been Morrison.  Sorry Balfour for the slur!! 

Post edited at 09:28
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 Wainers44 10 Oct 2020
In reply to MG:

Opps, ditto sorry Robertsons! 😁

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In reply to Wainers44:

> Shutting the carpark would make the Corrie walk in a bit more of a time challenge too?

Yes, that is my point. The extra effort required (about an hour's extra uphill walk) would make the area less of a convenient honeypot, taking pressure off the corries and the plateau in all seasons. I think this could only be a good thing both for the environment and for the experience of being there.

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 Dave Hewitt 10 Oct 2020
In reply to David Barlow:

They could maybe better spend the money building a tunnel at the Rest and Be Thankful...

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 Wainers44 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Yes, that is my point. The extra effort required (about an hour's extra uphill walk) would make the area less of a convenient honeypot, taking pressure off the corries and the plateau in all seasons. I think this could only be a good thing both for the environment and for the experience of being there.

Ok fair enough. I don't get there too often so wouldn't make a difference to me and the walk in is pleasant. Might help the place be quieter for sure.

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 colinakmc 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Wainers44
 

Aviemore & surroundings have been really busy without it both before Covid and after the lifting of travel restrictions. I don’t have a huge problem with ski infrastructure but as other folk have pointed out it’s cumbersome and absurdly expensive. And the harsh fact is not very many folk wanted to use it outside the ski season. Other smaller forms of ski uplift would have been far more suitable to the circumstances.
I also was sad enough to read the engineers report, was there not an issue with potential subsidence in a couple of the piers as well as all the other problems? 
im writing to my MSP, not that it’ll do any good, putting pressure on for them to learn from mistakes instead of repeating them in the hope of a different outcome.

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 Wainers44 10 Oct 2020
In reply to colinakmc:

Couple of piers yes, but generally ok.

I will very much take your view on the impact on Aviemore.  I have been there a few times and thought it quieter but that could easily have just been the weather on the day!!

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 DaveHK 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Yes, that is my point. The extra effort required (about an hour's extra uphill walk) would make the area less of a convenient honeypot, taking pressure off the corries and the plateau in all seasons. I think this could only be a good thing both for the environment and for the experience of being there.

Shelterstone etc in the winter would be a proper mission!

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In reply to DaveHK:

> Shelterstone etc in the winter would be a proper mission!

And I'm sure all the more rewarding.

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 DaveHK 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> And I'm sure all the more rewarding.

I don't think an extra hour walking up an old road (or the allt Mor path) in the dark would add anything to the day for me. 

Post edited at 16:09
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 Myr 10 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

> The bit I find really depressing (and it's also unsustainable) is those ridiculous 'snow factory' containers. Screw the environment to extract a few more quid out of people.

I remember rocking up at Coire Cas at 5am to walk in to Carn Etchachan. At what should have been a peaceful location on a midwinter's night, the noise was incredible from the snow factory which was presumably chugging through huge quantities of diesel. It was quite windy so literally all of the 'snow' was just being blown into the air down towards Glenmore before it even hit the ground.

It seemed almost a caricature; the most selfish and ineffectual possible way to respond to climate change.

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 DaveHK 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Myr:

> It seemed almost a caricature; the most selfish and ineffectual possible way to respond to climate change.

Yes, I hate it more for what it represents than what it actually is.

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In reply to DaveHK:

> I don't think an extra hour walking up an old road (or the allt Mor path) in the dark would add anything to the day for me. 

Not in itself, but the extra sense of remoteness when you get there. The enhancement would be more obvious in the Northern Corries.

Post edited at 17:29
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 Le Sapeur 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Dave Hewitt:

> They could maybe better spend the money building a tunnel at the Rest and Be Thankful...

£20m would get you about 350m of tunnel.

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 Philb1950 10 Oct 2020
In reply to wintertree:

£18m to remove it. Regularly inspected by Engineers. I was involved with the rapid transit cableway as part of the enabling works. 

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 Dave Hewitt 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> £20m would get you about 350m of tunnel.

I know - I was being slightly facetious. But that £20m added to what they've already spent on the RaBT to no great effect over the past 20-odd years would produce a considerably longer tunnel.

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 Philb1950 10 Oct 2020
In reply to MG:

Morrison Construction from Inverness built it, but the problem with the original design was that constraints on the supply chain meant that no U.K. or European rolling mills could supply the design specification grade and dimensions for the steel, so an alternative design and build solution was adopted and this is what has caused the problems. Concrete instead of steel.

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In reply to Philb1950:

Interesting but I'm not sure that is much of a defence for it falling to bits! 

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 gavmac 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

Is that the same Morrisons who occupied a seat (chairman?) on the HIE board at one time... 

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 Doug 10 Oct 2020
In reply to gavmac:

Yes

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 wintertree 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

> £18m to remove it. Regularly inspected by Engineers. I was involved with the rapid transit cableway as part of the enabling works. 

Thanks.  Do you know with whom the liability now lies for removing it if it's no longer used?

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I’m not much of a forum poster, but kinda couldn’t let this one go entirely.

Now I understand the points made above and have felt, and can still feel, very much the same way, but then that funicular came into its own one day...

It has carted me and my young son, his sit-ski and an instructor up the hill on more than a few occasions. It has given a young boy with some very stiff legs, caused by Cerebral Palsy, a feeling for being amongst and then the sheer joy of sliding down mountains.

Yes, other forms of uplift can get us up there, certainly with less impact and lower cost to all, we could have gone to other places. But it’s very near where we live, it’s local, he see’s that hill regularly, he knows what he’s done up there.

So now I look at that line of concrete and steel and can feel very different things about it, all at the same time. That machine has had another side for us. I’ve shared this to hopefully lessen, even if only very slightly, the understandable ill feeling it has and continues to generate, seeing as seems to be here to stay. 

Edit; I see some suggestion for using the money instead to prop up outdoor ed. I agree.

Post edited at 00:35
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 dmhigg 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Witheyeswideopen:

Sadly, as a teacher, I can only ski in school holidays. My experience of the funicular is turning up to find queues stretched around the car park - not a problem as long as the drag line near the car park is working - and then a mahoosive queue at halfway because there's only two ways to the top of the hill, and one of them is the funicular which doesn't stop halfway.

A morning at the Lecht gives me more skiing than a day at Cairngorm.

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 mike123 11 Oct 2020
In reply to David Barlow: i get a sense of negativity from most of the above . I know many British climbers are anti ski and I understand why . I have no idea about the politics of the situation discussed above other than whoever built the funicular badly in the first place should be held to account and if it turns out money was squandered then it shouldn't happen again . However to me and I would imagine many many other people fixing the funicular is a very good thing . Many people will get to go skiing at what at it's best is an excellent little resort . At a rough guess my kids have enjoyed 15 or so good days skiing at Cairngorm plus a good few less good ones . With the funicular broken we can't ski at Cairngorm as my youngest can't get up the hill . Top of the hill to bottom of the funicular is a good run . On many days there was only a short wait at the bottom once the early morning rush was over . Which was easily avoided by being there early . ( not news I'm sure to most on here who will be used to being at the car park well before 8am anyway ) . I do appreciate that the money initially spent on the funicualrvxould well have built some new chair lifts but I'd always thought the idea was to take  non hill folk up the mountain , take some money off them and take them back down . If that meant they got a nice day out and  I got to take my kids skiing Win win .  I ve skied at all the Scottish hills more than a few times and had good days at all of them . Learning to ski in Scotland means you can ski all manner of shi77y conditions in some fashion and is a great preparation for touring / skimo . I do agree that the other resorts could do with some money but their  ramshackle nature has always been to me what Scottish skiing is about . Posh cafes would be nice but I'm not sure most Scottish ski devotees are that bothered . This winter gone glencoe was is amazing nick for a couple of months and we had 5 good days spread  over that time . The atmosphere was always great with most people seemingly happy to be out . The staff at the ticket booth and on the lifts were always cheerful and helpful . A mate of mine remarked recently that my kids have great resilience which I took as a great compliment . I think  a few crappy days on the hilll in Scotland has been part of building that. Anyway my general point I think is that Scottish skiing is a great thing  that it would be sad to loose , any money spent on it, even if flawed , is in my opinion.a good thing 

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 Doug 11 Oct 2020
In reply to mike123:

From the figures I've seen, the money needed to fix the funicular would buy a modern chairlift which would also be used in summer time or by non-skiing visitors in winter - much as the old chairlift used to.  Cairngorm really needs a serious rethink as part of a plan for all of Glenmore rather than a series of isolated decisions with no 'joined up thinking' or long term strategy.

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 DaveHK 11 Oct 2020
In reply to mike123:

> i get a sense of negativity from most of the above . I know many British climbers are anti ski and I understand why .

You'll see much the same level of negativity about this on the ski forums too.

> I have no idea about the politics of the situation discussed above

If you take the time to find out about that you'll see why people are so negative about it.

Post edited at 11:00
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 tripehound 13 Oct 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

> Shelterstone etc in the winter would be a proper mission!

But imagine if there was a cic type hut at Loch Avon

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 S Andrew 13 Oct 2020
In reply to tripehound:

That would be an abomination.

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 Doug 14 Oct 2020
 tripehound 14 Oct 2020
In reply to S Andrew:

Ideally the road would stop at Glenmore though.

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 gethin_allen 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Doug:

> From the figures I've seen, the money needed to fix the funicular would buy a modern chairlift which would also be used in summer time or by non-skiing visitors in winter - much as the old chairlift used to. 

If this is true I'd much prefer to see a lift put in. I'd also bet that non-skiers would enjoy a ride on a chair lift more than the train, much better views and maybe a bit of adrenalin for those not used to it.

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 Jim Fraser 15 Oct 2020
In reply to MG:

> Actually it seems to have been Morrison.  Sorry Balfour for the slur!! 

Aye, these days there are times when I think Morrisons should have stuck to building houses in Tain. 

The HIE is between a rock and hard place on this. Unfortunately, a similar bunch of lunatics seem to have advised on the reinstatement works as on the original. By that I mean the concrete brigade. Lunacy. 

Across the world, everyone else is building transport structures at ski resorts out of galvanised steel. All the stuff I have seen in France, Poland, USA and Switzerland has been galvanised steel. Some of those are already quite old and some of them may last 100 years. 

Concrete was the wrong choice, by some ignorant bean counter. It is still wrong. It will always be wrong.

The right way to do this reinstatement work is to devise a method for replacing the troublesome concrete with galvanised steel structures, piece at a time, starting with the most damaged sections. Then, a number of weeks should be set aside each year for works to replace other sections until the entire funicular is on steel. 

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 Jim Fraser 15 Oct 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

> Morrison Construction from Inverness built it, but the problem with the original design was that constraints on the supply chain meant that no U.K. or European rolling mills could supply the design specification grade and dimensions for the steel, so an alternative design and build solution was adopted and this is what has caused the problems. Concrete instead of steel.

1. That would be called bad design then.

2. Was it not stated in a parliamentary committee that the change was part of a cost-saving exercise?

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 Elizabeth07 16 Oct 2020
In reply to David Barlow:

Сool

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 Elizabeth07 16 Oct 2020
In reply to tripehound: Yes you are right

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